Venezuelan archbishop condemns sex abuse committed by religious priest

The flag of Venezuela. Credit: Alex Lanz via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) with filter
The flag of Venezuela. Credit: Alex Lanz via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) with filter

.- Archbishop José Luis Azuaje Ayala of Maracaibo on Wednesday condemned the abuse of a female minor by Fr. Iván Marino Padial, for which the priest has been arrested.

According to local media the priest, a member of the Order of Augustinian Recollects and parochial vicar of Most Holy Trinity parish, was arrested Nov. 24 having been caught in the act in his car with a 12-year-old girl.

The case is in the hands of prosecutor's department for the protection of children.

Archbishop Azuaje and his auxiliary bishop, Ángel Francisco Caraballo Fermin, asked “forgiveness of the minor girl, her relatives, and the entire ecclesial community for the harm they have suffered in our very midst, which could lead them to doubt their faith because of the sin of someone who is called to care for them and encourage them on the path of faithfully following Jesus Christ.”

In a Nov. 28 statement they also expressed their “vigorous and outright condemnation of this lascivious act and of all sexual abuse, especially if such an act is committed by a priest.”

They said the Augustinian Recollects have already begun “the process provided by the Code of Canon Law … so that justice is restored, the scandal repaired, and the guilty cleric reformed.”

This is done “in compliance with and respecting” Venezuelan law, they said.

The statement added that Fr. Marino is prohibited from “the exercise of the priestly ministry in the Archdiocese of Maracaibo.”

The archdiocese reiterated its commitment that these cases would not happen again. After noting that the majority of priests “give their lives out of love,” the prelates encouraged prayer that “the Holy Spirit grant us a Church that 'would be a living witness of truth and freedom, of peace and justice so all men would be encouraged with new hope.'”

This article was originally published by our sister agency, ACI Prensa. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

Tags: Clerical sex abuse, Order of Augustinian Recollects